Authors: Oliver EADE
© Oliver Eade 2013
part of this publication may be produced or transmitted, in any form or by any
means without the prior written consent of the author.
characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to
real persons, living or
is purely coincidental.
© David Jowsey
Dedicated to friends past and present
Think where Man’s glory most begins and ends
And say my glory was I had such friends
Chapter 1 Real Virtuality
Chapter 2 Beetie
Chapter 3 Teeth
Chapter 5 Naked in Swiss Cottage
from the Past
Chapter 7 Treachery
Believe or Not to Believe
Chapter 9 Stanmore Scientific Laboratories
Power of a
removes the spectacles for the last time. The light grows steadily brighter,
the noise louder, as his mind drifts back to a bright June morning two days ago
in Regent’s Park,
Or was it two hundred years back when the boys met up, as usual, on Saturday
before soccer practice in the park?
“Hurry up, Gary!”
Mike shouted impatiently when his friend stopped and stared at something on a
“Hang on!” Gary
Shaped like a
large eye and pointed at both ends, the object shimmered as if alive. Closer,
Gary saw a myriad tiny flickering ‘eyes’ reflecting his face and the cloudless
sky a thousand times over.
left something behind!
A sort of weird glasses case.”
leave it! They’ll be back!”
on Earth’d forget something like this?”
picked up the curiously weightless case.
announced before giving the thing a shake. It rattled. “Hey… cool!
Something in it!”
“Oh come on! I
hate being late.”
“Oughta hand this in.
Might get a reward.”
annoyance, Gary sat on the bench
and turned the case over a few times, mesmerised by its changing reflections.
Science had always fascinated the boy and there was something almost
other-worldly about the object in his hand.
sorta looking at me! Like… um…”
He stared at
the sky, seeking inspiration, whereas his friend glanced upwards from sheer frustration.
“Do what you
sodding like! Only be quick about it, mate!”
examined the case. His finger hovered over a minuscule button at one end. On
touching this, the two halves sprang open.
“Only an old
pair of specs!” he declared, disappointed.
farting around then!”
spectacles frame began to shrink, as if sensing a face smaller than their
previous owner’s, whilst the lenses held him transfixed. Gary
had once seen a photograph of the eye of a fly magnified a hundred times and
each lens reminded him of that photo. Composite eyes! A science buff, he often
bored the pants off Mike by going on about the wonders of evolution, about
fractals and the string theory, but these specs were something else. On closer
examination, the ‘eyes’ within each lens appeared to be made up from hundreds
of even smaller lenses. Also, each lens-frame had minute controls yet, on
holding up the glasses at arm’s length, they resembled any other pair of specs.
suit me?” he asked, standing up and cocking his head sideways whilst slipping
someone yelled before grabbing his arm.
after being yanked violently backwards, and where he’d been standing on a path
in Regent’s Park, grinning stupidly, an enormous, silver, lozenge-shaped pod
flashed past at an incredible speed. In a blink, it contracted into a receding
dot, vanishing in the far distance.
turned, frowning. He squinted at a boy who’d just pulled him out of the way.
Not Mike or anyone he knew. Regent’s Park had gone… the grass, the flowers, the
trees, the bench… and Mike. Strangely dim,
thing familiar had
“Who the heck
are you?” Gary asked. The
boy, olive-skinned and about the same age as him, had a pudding-basin haircut.
Dressed in a shiny, blue tracksuit emblazoned with a white ‘B’ and a number, he
kept blinking. A nervous tic, Gary
reckoned. “And where the bleeding hell
I?” he added.
surveyed his surroundings with unease. He stood at the edge of a wide concrete
run where he’d come so close to being killed by that silver pod and which
stretched to a constricted horizon in both directions. The pavement, of a
strange grey, artificial material, reflected towering, similarly grey buildings
studded with converging vertical lines of circular porthole windows. Other
people, silent and solitary, dressed in glossy red, green, yellow, blue or
purple tracksuits, wandered about aimlessly. Their expressions blank, they all
walked at the same easy pace. Apart from his saviour, no one paid Gary
the slightest attention.
Like the boy,
they had numbers on their chests with single bold letters, these clearly
relating to the colours of their tracksuits: ‘B’ for blue, ‘R’ for red etc.
The boy seemed
so very different from those others. Mostly, it was his eyes that set him
apart. Restless and watchful, they were alive. Before Gary
could repeat his question, the boy pointed discretely up at the wall. A grey
camera, camouflaged against the building, turned silently from one side to the
other, constantly scanning the pavement.
More cameras, every
ten metres on both sides of the street, moved in unison.
The boy made a
slight head gesture, his eyelids still flickering, and Gary
understood. He should move away from the gaze of the cameras before they could
safely talk. Gary reckoned the
specs must be causing this strange illusion; a virtual reality experience and
nothing to be alarmed about.
The boy in
blue took off along the street as another silver pod grew out of one horizon
before sweeping past them towards the other, soundless and so beautifully
streamlined there was no disturbance of air. Now twenty metres away, the boy
glanced back at Gary. With a flick of his head, he indicated a poorly lit
side-street into which he vanished. Before following, Gary turned to check on
the swivelling cameras; he caught sight of a blond-haired girl and froze.
She wore a
similar blue tracksuit with the letter ‘B’ and a different number, more tightly
fitting and revealing of her maturing girlish figure. Like the boy, she had a
pudding-basin hairstyle but her face held Gary spellbound. It was the loveliest
he’d ever seen.
He and Mike
often discussed their female classmates’ physical attributes: faces, boobs and
bottoms, mostly boobs, but this girl was in a class of her own. He couldn’t
believe anyone could look so perfect. Pretty cool virtual reality, he thought,
staring stupidly at her. A moment earlier, he’d been fingering the spectacles,
ready to take them off in an instant, but her extraordinary beauty stopped him.
Perhaps it was those Himalayan Blue Poppy coloured eyes. He’d always considered
the colour of the poppies in the rockery at Queen Mary’s Gardens as something
special, but the same blue in the eyes of a girl? Wow! Not virtual reality, but
real virtuality! His hand touching the specs dropped to his side.
As he stared
at the girl she began to walk in his direction, her gaze locked into his. God,
those eyes had to be for real, not virtual, and somehow he felt certain their
fates were linked for a purpose. For the time being Mike would have to wait,
for Gary had to find out about her and why they were together in this freaky
noticed something disturbing about the sky. The dull, grey buildings were
impossibly tall but the sky seemed curiously low... almost resting on the
buildings, and moving… cloudless, dark grey-green and
Illumination came from strip lights across the tops of the high buildings and
the brightly-lit porthole windows. He should have been terrified, but having
set eyes on the girl everything else seemed of trivial importance.
nor Mike had ever got closer to a girl other than lusting after Emma Pearson,
the class pin-up. If not discussing ways round Danny Bryan’s protection racket,
the ineptitudes of teachers and the future of the world according to Gary
O’Driscoll and Michael Bellini, they would often focus on the gender-specific
attributes of Emma Pearson. Mike became obsessed with her breasts whilst Gary
day-dreamt about her bum and the fantasy of one day being close to her, holding
her and (
oh, the thought of it!)
kissing her. The boobs could come
later. Sadly, Emma remained out of bounds. Being Danny’s girl, if any wimp
should dare to stare at her chest in class (Danny had his spies), the owner of
the stare would have the shit thumped out of him at break time. Gary and Mike,
technically wimps, kept their eyes to themselves and only compared Emma Pearson
thoughts when out of earshot of the bully’s side-kicks.
Pearson? Pfff! This girl’s a thousand times prettier than Emma!
the side-street, Gary had difficulty distinguishing the boy from other blue
figures dotted amongst the crowd until someone nearby spoke... softly. It was the
girl. She’d caught up.
electric current, a tingle of excitement coursed through his body on realising
the loveliest creature imaginable had actually addressed
! She ran on
quickly through a wide opening and down a flight of stairs, taking two steps at
a time. Chasing after her, Gary recognised where he was. Despite motionless
stairs, the absence of advertisement hoardings and a ceiling lower than it
have been, this eerie place was, without a shadow of doubt, the London
Gary and the girl, the disused station was deserted. Prickles of fear played
with the hairs on the back his neck, but fascination with the girl prevented
him from removing the specs. She stopped again to check on him. Why her
interest? Surely their paths had crossed for a purpose! But what connection did
she have with the nervous boy who’d saved his life? The thought of this
disturbed him. He didn’t want
else to be connected with her.
The girl ran
on, taking several turns in the dimly-lit tunnels at the foot of the defunct
escalator before reaching a bare-walled platform. At the far end of the
platform she turned, as if to check on Gary’s continued presence, then jumped
down onto the rail-less track. Ignoring the instinct of self-preservation, he,
too, jumped and followed her into the tunnel. After rounding a bend they were
enveloped by darkness. Someone seized his arm giving it a painful squeeze.
exclaimed, “what the...?”
In the dimness
he just made out the face of the boy.
gee-rats around! Follow us,” the boy whispered.
standing behind the boy, peered shyly at Gary with those extraordinary eyes. In
comparison, Emma Pearson had the eyes of a cow. The boy and girl headed off
into the tunnel. Gary continued on after them. Another curve in the tunnel and
blackness took over, and he found himself following footsteps and the sound of
someone counting in a whisper. Also, he became increasingly aware of an
overpowering smell like that of an animal house in the London Zoo in need of a
clean-up and a generous helping of disinfectant. He cupped a hand over his
stopped. An arm reached out, grabbed his arm and dragged him sideways. Three
knocks, a burst of yellow light and an open doorway. Dazzled, Gary entered
after the others. The door closed behind him and for a few moments he stood
blinking in brightness at a corridor lined with rows of book-laden shelves.
People in garish tracksuits sat on a long bench, apparently engrossed in doing
nothing at all until Gary noticed computer screens embedded in the desk that
ran the length of the wall. No one paid any heed to him.
said the boy, and Gary followed him and the girl the length of the corridor
before passing through another doorway and along a dingy passageway. They
reached a door marked ‘R31267’. Beyond this, in a small room, a large black man
in a red tracksuit sat behind a desk. He glanced up at Gary. A forced smile
hovered on his dour face.
“Sit down!” he
commanded in a deep voice.
The boy with
the restless eyes brought a chair over for Gary who again wondered whether he
shouldn’t just remove the specs. He glanced at the girl, at her eyes, and
“Him?” the man
the boy replied, his own eyes flicking. “Was about to get himself killed by the
shuttle-bus! The specs would’ve got ruined (
Thanks, dude! Never mind me!
might have got hold of them.”
narrowed his eyes at Gary, his smile gone.
“How can you
be sure he’s the one sent by God? Could be one of
travelled from the man to the kids.
“God? No idea
what you’re talking about!” he said. “I’m no religious nutter! Was on my way to
soccer practice with my mate, Mike, when… er...”
silenced him with a cold, unblinking stare.
queried the other boy, grinning.
Kicking a bloody ball into a goal.”
these crazy people
? Gary wondered.
found some funny specs in Regent’s Park. Tried them on for a laugh, and…
well...” he attempted to explain.
man’s steely glare bore into him.
“Um… I didn’t
. Just a figure of speech!”
The man turned
to the boy, ignoring Gary.
“At least you
got the specs,” he said.
persisted Gary. “Who are you talking about? And God? Are you some kinda wacko
After a stony
silence, the black man spoke again, his voice chilling:
“God! The man
Gary’s turn to
A man called ‘God’? How bloody naff!